Dan Rattiner's Stories

Life on Mars: It’s a New World on the Red Planet

For 50 years, scientists have told us that there is no life on Mars because Mars has no water, and without water there can be no life.

Maybe a thousand studies have come out with this information. No life on Mars. Better look elsewhere. And so we have, with ever more powerful telescopes, been reaching out into the deepest parts of the universe in search of a Goldilocks planet that would be like ours. If we could only find such a planet, we thought, we could travel the light years and meet the others and contemplate life in the universe.

Now it turns out that with just one bombshell study released last week, there is water on Mars. The Mars rover has discovered dried streams that we used to call “canals” ha ha, which, as it turns out, bubble up as saltwater streams during the summer months there.

There is water on Mars. Here’s this planet, right under our very nose, that supports life, that’s been here all this time where we’ve been wasting our resources looking far, far away and where we’ve been always told that, like the Moon, there is no water or life on Mars.

It could take only four years of flying to get to Mars. I’d be willing to do that. It could happen. And when I get there, I could strut around. Mars is small. I’m from the BIG planet just down the road. And you don’t want to mess with us. Whatever you’ve got, we’ve got more of it.

I’m told that Mars, being farther away from the sun than us, is very, very cold. On an average day, it gets down to -80. So I’d have to really bundle up.

It makes me think that perhaps some day soon when global warming makes us consider getting out of here, we ought to just go to the Moon. They’ve been telling us for 50 years there is no water on the Moon, and when we got there we didn’t see any, but look, that’s the same thing they told us over and over about Mars, and look what happened there.

Mars might be just in our backyard, but the Moon is just outside the back door. It takes only eight days to fly there from here. And the temperatures are not nearly as cold as on Mars, though they vary much more wildly. On the Moon, when it’s dark, the temperature drops to -243 degrees, while when its light on the Moon, the temperature shoots up to +253 degrees. And this change happens almost instantaneously. Because there’s no clouds around the Moon, it’s always either one or the other, with this very straight line separating light and dark, +253 on one side and then step a few feet over the line and its -243. No problem.

What we need is a wardrobe on wheels. Computers could have them bump along, always staying right at the line, with the winter clothes on one side and the bathing suits and sandals on the other, and you’d just walk over going from one place to another and stop there and change your clothes.

If we can build a Roomba to creep around the living room rug, we can build a clothes closet on wheels that follows the light-dark line. It’s a no brainer.

Another thing that’s good about Mars and the Moon is that we can play one against the other. The Martians want something we don’t want to give them, we tell them you’re not getting it, get used to it, and if you don’t we’re going to the Moon. And the other way around.

I think there’s lots more good things that will come of this “Hey, there’s water” discovery. It’s a new world.

Dan visits Mars
Dan visits Mars, Photo: Oliver Peterson, pulsartt, Catalin205, Nastco, Jacques van Dinteren/iStock/Thinkstock
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